main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Characters: Warcraft The Burning Legion
A character subpage for the WarCraft universe, including World of Warcraft. For the main character page, see here.

The Burning Legion is the name for the demonic forces of the universe. Under the leadership of Sargeras, they move from world to world, seeking to consume them in fire and undo the creation of the Titans. The Legion consists of a number of subgroups, most of whom are classified as demons.

  • The Eredar, who are represented more or less as "classical" demons, started out as good but were corrupted to evil by Sargeras. They are the leaders of the Legion.
  • Assorted lesser demons like the Pit Lords, Mo'arg, Gan'arg, Doomguard, etc., form the armies of the Legion.
  • The Scourge are the Undead forces under the command of the Lich King. Originally subservient to the Legion, Ner'zhul eventually betrayed Kil'jaeden and became independent.
  • The Shadow Council, an Equal-Opportunity Evil group of warlocks originally founded by Orcs on Draenor, works to further the Legion's goals.
  • There are enclaves of demons, cultists (mostly influenced by the Shadow Council), and satyrs throughout Azeroth that are aligned with the Burning Legion and eagerly await their return.

    open/close all folders 

    General Tropes 
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Justified, you have to be evil (or become corrupted) to get into the Legion in the first place.
  • Big Red Devil: Red is one of the most common skin colors for man'ari eredar. The other is dark grey.
  • The Corruption: How they "recruit" new species; for example, fel orcs and satyrs were once normal orcs and night elves who were mutated by fel power.
  • The Dark Side
  • Demon Lords And Arch Devils: The Legion has a hierarchical structure, which originally had Sargeras in overall command, and Archimonde and Kil'jaeden as his lieutenants. As Archimonde is dead and Sargeras is stuck in the Twisting Nether, Kil'jaeden is now the de facto leader.
  • Elite Mooks: Wrathguards, a subtype of man'ari eredar that specializes in melee combat along with some fire magic. They are shock troops and honor guards for the Legion's commanders.
  • Evil Sorcerer: The man'ari eredar, at the top of the Legion power structure, are usually this.
  • Fighting a Shadow: Sargeras is so powerful that death may not even be a possibility, the most that the heroes of the universe have managed is sealing away his physical form via Portal Cut. This also applies to the Nazrethim, as they can't be slain unless they're on their homeworld. Other demons are implied to share the same immunity, but pit lords and the three Eredar lords (Archimonde being a good example) have shown that they can be permanently slain on other worlds.
  • Golem: Infernals and Abyssals are large constructs made from stone and animated by demonic fire, which the Legion (and warlock players) can summon in the form of fireballs dropping from the sky.
  • It's Personal: Azeroth is the only planet ever to have fought the Legion off successfully, and they've actually done so multiple times. At this point the motive for demons attacking Azeroth seems to largely be revenge-based.
  • The Legions of Hell
  • Mooks: The Mo'arg species of demons generally serve as the rank-and-file of the Legion. The actual race called the Mo'arg almost always serves the Legion in a Mad Scientist capacity, and the stunted subtype called the gan'arg are minor laborers and technicians. The subtype called Felguards are the Legion's front line troops; occasionally they can be huge.
  • Omnicidal Maniacs: Pretty much the whole point of their existence.
  • Our Demons Are Different
  • Retcon: See the entry for Sargeras.
  • Sickly Green Glow: Fel power seems to emit this, and players will see this coming from their demonic forges and cannons.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Man'ari eredar have small spikes surrounding their eyes, which the draenei lack. Also, Felguards have large spikes that seem to grow from the top of their back, just behind the neck.



Sargeras is the Burning One, the master of the Burning Legion. Originally a Titan, he fell from grace and decided to undo all of creation, returning it to the Twisted Nether. To that end, he enlisted the aid of the original Draenei race, promising incredible power to those who would follow him. Sargeras and his Burning Legion moved from world to world, eradicating or corrupting all life thereon, until they were attracted to Azeroth by the wanton use of magic by the Night Elves. They found the planet a tough nut to crack, however, and the Legion tried many ploys ranging from brute force to corruption to infiltration.

Eventually, Sargeras attempted subterfuge. He allowed a young and naive Guardian to discover his "plan" to enter the world in physical form. When she attacked and destroyed him, his spirit entered her body and was later passed on to her offspring, Medivh. Under Sargeras' domination, Medivh opened the Dark Portal, allowing the Orcs to enter Azeroth and starting the First War. It was not until the Second War that Medivh's corruption was exposed; his death banished the spirit of Sargeras back to the Twisting Nether. It is not known if he can return.
  • Ascended Extra: Originally just a footnote in the Warcraft II manuals.
  • Badass Beard: He had a beard before. But now it's made of FIRE!!
  • BFS: Depicted wielding a sword as large as he is while still fighting for the titans, and a smaller one with a jagged tip after his corruption. If the Tabletop games are to be believed, they are Gorshalach, the most powerful weapon in the universe, and Gorribal, what's left of Gorshalach after it shattered itself and was reforged.
  • Big Bad: For the entire Warcraft universe.
  • Bigger Bad: For most of the actual gameplay.
  • The Chessmaster
  • Demonic Possession
  • Enemy to All Living Things: It's one of his titles and he's said to turn the temperature up by 50 degrees in a thousand mile radius from his location.
  • Expy: Of Surtur from The Mighty Thor, and by extension Surt from Norse Mythology. Also shares traits with Morgoth (and several of them with Satan, as mentioned below).
  • Face-Heel Turn
  • Fallen Hero
  • Flaming Hair
  • Freak Out!
  • Good Cannot Comprehend Evil: The persistent presence of demons that he constantly had to deal with seemed to contradict the titans' idea that order is what's meant for the universe—eventually, he decided that the mission of the Pantheon was a stupid idea, the universe was too inclined to chaos for it to work, and that existence must be purged of their influence.
  • He Who Fights Monsters
  • Magic Knight: Sargeras was the Pantheon's physical combat specialist, but he has a command of sorcery that is more than substantial.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: If Sargeras physically arrives on Azeroth with his full power, we lose. Nothing on Azeroth can stand up to him except possibly for freed Old Gods.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: According to Krasus, Sargeras individually was a much greater threat to Azeroth than the entire rest of the Burning Legion combined.
  • Physical God: According to the Ultimate Visual Guide which is the most recent canon source he is the God of Fel.
    • Retcon: He was called a God in Warcraft: The Last Guardian yet the Warcraft Encyclopedia later claimed that Titans weren't Gods only for more recent sources to declare them Gods overwritting the Encyclopedia due to being more recent.
  • Portal Cut: The portal being used to summon him to Azeroth through the Well of Eternity closed on him when he was partway through. The force obliterated his physical body. His spirit would not be gotten rid of so easily, though, and he remained scheming even without a permanent body, having to settle for projecting avatars containing only a shadow of his true might.
  • Retcon: Originally, the eredar were said to have corrupted Sargeras into their ranks. This was changed around the release of the Burning Crusade expansion to have Sargeras be the original evil who corrupted the eredar (who would later be called man'ari eredar), thus allowing the draenei (the remainder of the eredar species) to become a separate race and join the Alliance.
  • Satanic Archetype: At least in terms of backstory.
  • Super Strength: His strength was said to completely dwarf that of one hundred dragons. Sargeras was nearly strong enough to hold a closing portal open with his bare hands.
  • Winged Humanoid: Once he becomes evil, as can be seen in the Warcraft Saga comic, published in the World of Warcraft Magazine.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: He was so traumatized by the evil of some of the demons he fought against as the pantheon's chosen warrior that he decided that a universe where such things were allowed to happen was flawed, its attempts at Order pointless, and should be remade.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Several, but most particularly the one with the Guardian. If she destroyed him, then he can reincarnate. If she failed, one less guardian is still a good deal.


Kil'jaeden the Deceiver

"There are more ways to destroy one's enemy than with an army. Sometimes those ways are better."

Currently the leader of the Legion, Kil'jaeden was one of the three original Eredar lords who were approached by Sargeras and one of the two who joined the fallen titan. While his companion, Archimonde, tended to preferred brute force, Kil'jaeden went the Magnificent Bastard route, manipulating, tempting, and even outright lying to accomplish his goals. After Sargeras was banished with the death of Medivh, Kil'jaeden sought to take over leadership of the Burning Legion and prove his worth by completing the assimilation/destruction of Azeroth. Kael'thas attempted to summon him into Azeroth but didn't finish the job, leaving half of Kil'jaeden's body sticking out of the Sunwell. Consequently, he was ultimately defeated (but not killed) at the Sunwell by the combined forces of the Blue Dragonflight and a band of heroes.
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: The three original Eredar "brothers", all have a "D" title (Kil'jaeden the Deceiver, Archimonde the Defiler, and...Velen the Divine). Even though the third brother is good-aligned, his title still starts with a "D".
  • Big Bad: Of The Burning Crusade, though all the advertising was focused on Illidan until the release of the Sunwell.
  • Big "NO!": Upon being defeated at the Sunwell.
  • The Chessmaster
  • The Corrupter
  • Co-Dragons: To Sargeras; shared with Archimonde
    • Dragon Their Feet: Specifically in that Sargeras, the canonical Big Bad, is defeated before Kil'jaeden; however, this is not a case of the latter slacking so much as the former getting careless.
      • Dragon Ascendant: Fully intends to lead the Burning Legion in his own name instead of in Sargeras', as can be seen when he's summoned in the Sunwell Plateau raid.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Justified, since he was not completely summoned when players fight him.
  • Evil Sounds Deep
  • Final Boss: Of the Burning Crusade expansion.
  • Gambit Roulette: Kil'jaeden has an extremely long-term mind set, so he naturally does nothing but these.
    • Considering he could empower Ner'zhul with, among other things, limited foreknowledge of future events, it's not completely out-there to consider he might have a bit of prophet in himself as well.
  • Genius Bruiser: Emphasis on the "Genius".
  • Genre Savvy: Unlike Archimonde, it looks like he has read about half of the Evil Overlord List.
  • Hot as Hell: Implied to help in drawing his victims to the dark side.
  • It's Personal: According to Word of God, Kil'jaeden did his job for the Burning Legion without letting his ego get the better of him and just saw Azeroth as just another world to conquer. Now, after his defeat at the Sunwell? He is pissed.
    • He also took Velen's "betrayal" very personally - while Archimonde was not really bothered by it, and encouraged Kil'jaeden to just let it go, and instead focus his attention on destroying and conquering countless worlds for the Legion, Kil'jaeden never stopped searching, until he found is "brother" about 25.000 years later at Draenor.
  • Large and in Charge
  • Man Behind the Man: Was secretly behind Kael'thas's plans in Burning Crusade.
  • Manipulative Bastard: They don't call him The Deceiver for nothing.
  • Man in a Kilt
  • Never Found the Body: Kil'jaeden's defeat at the Sunwell technically banishes him back to the Twisting Nether rather than completely destroying him, raising the possibility that he could return.
  • Person of Mass Destruction
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Blue to Archimonde's red, despite their coloring.
  • Satanic Archetype: While Sargeras has the backstory, Kil'jaeden is a better allegory in terms of personality and appearance.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Technically - it requires the Sunwell to be reopened for Kil'jaeden to attempt physical entry into Azeroth, which Kael'thas is only too happy to provide.
  • Sorcerous Overlord
  • Walking Shirtless Scene
  • Winged Humanoid
  • You Have Failed Me: Averted. He's surprisingly forgiving of his underling's mistakes, as long as they don't completely screw up his over-all plan. In other times, it IS actually part of his plan (he expects them to fail), so no real failure there.
    • This is in contrast to his fellow Co-Dragon Archimonde, who is of the "return victoriously or not at all"-type.


Archimonde the Defiler

"Tremble Mortals, and despair! Doom has come to this world!"

The Final Boss of Warcraft III, Archimonde the Defiler was the second of the Eredar lords that took Sargeras' offer of power and became one of his most powerful lieutenants. Unlike Kil'jaeden, Archimonde prefers a much approach to conquering the universe. He takes battles into his own hands instead of sitting back and plotting. Archimonde participated in the War of the Ancients, where he managed to kill Cenarius' father Malorne. Ten thousand years later he was brought back into Azeroth by Kel'Thuzad to lead the Legion's army. He promptly began destroying Lordaeron before crossing the sea to destroy Kalimdor. There he was held off by a coalition of Alliance and Horde members while trying to drain the World Tree Nordrassil of its power, before being blown up by thousands of wisps.
  • Badass Boast: See above.
  • Bad Boss: Kills his own men in frustration after Tyrande escapes.
  • The Brute: In terms of personality, at least.
  • Co-Dragons: To Sargeras, with Kil'jaedan. Mannoroth and Tichondrius are his Dragons.
    • Dragon with an Agenda: Wished to steal the power of the World Tree for himself in order to take command of the Burning Legion from Sargeras and Kil'jaedan.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: After ripping through hundreds of mortal forces. Archimonde was finally killed by Wisps, the basic Night-Elf worker unit.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: His death emits a wave of flame that incinerates most of the forest on Mount Hyjal and greatly damages the World Tree Nordrassil.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Subverted, you aren't supposed to kill him in the final mission, and doing so is extremely difficult because not only do his bases never run out of resources and he can build units that can't be built in normal games, Archimonde himself is nearly unstoppable in a head on fight. In the Battle for Mount Hyjal instance, you bring him to 10% HP and then the wisps do the rest.
  • Evil Sounds Deep
  • Final Boss: Of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: Finger of Death.
    • Heck, the tooltip decribing it is a Large Ham! "Deals 20 000 Shadow damage to you, your children, and your children's children!"
    • Taken Up to Eleven with Hand of Death, a Total Party Kill attack he uses if he reaches Nordrassill or his enrage timer runs out.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: His march to Mount Hyjal was little more than this.
  • Genius Bruiser: Emphasis on the "Bruiser".
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Subverted in the final mission of Warcraft III. Because its a Hold the Line mission, the player is not meant to directly face him. But when this is attempted, it cannot even be called a hopeless boss fight, since Archimonde removes any attacking army as if they are flies, and when he actually does attack you he'll likely show up when there's already an army on your doorstep. Part of the reason for this is because Archimonde is immune to spells and can only be damaged by chaos attacks. The fun is that the player has no units at their disposal that inflict chaos damage except for the units from the Mercenary Camp nearby.
  • The Juggernaut: The last level of Warcraft III has Archimonde stomping through the orc, human, and night elf defenses effortlessly.
  • Killed Off for Real: Slain by dozens of wisps all exploding at the same time around the World Tree.
  • Large and in Charge: He seems to be able to shrink or grow at will.
  • Made of Iron: In Warcraft III he has an absurd amount of health, and divine type armor which means everything except Chaos damage (which you only get access to through mercenaries in that mission) do a single point of damage to him, he's immune to spells, and he has Ankh of Reincarnation which brings him back to life at full health and mana, meaning you have to kill him twice.
  • Meaningful Name: Arch is Greek for king and mond is French for world, i.e. "King of the World" (a title traditionally claimed by Satan).
  • Neck Snap: Performs this on Malorne in the War of the Ancients.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: If him casually destroying Dalaran wasn't evidence enough.
  • Rasputinian Death: The last thing he expect was getting zerg rushed.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Kil'jaeden's blue, despite their coloring.
  • Summoning Ritual: Gets to Azeroth via one of these, thanks to Kel'Thuzad. It may actually be what led to his ultimate downfall, as wisps' Detonation deals damage to summoned units.
  • Super Power Meltdown: What the wisps do to him.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Also his Last Words, though only in the Caverns of Time: Battle of Mount Hyjal instance in The Burning Crusade.
  • You Have Failed Me: Unlike Kil'Jaeden, Archimonde plays this straight. His policy pretty much boils down to "Succeed or die!"


Tichondrius the Darkener

"Calm yourself, Prince Arthas. I am Tichondrius. Like Mal'Ganis, I am a dreadlord, but I am not your enemy. In truth, I've come to congratulate you.."

Leader of the Dreadlords and one of the top ranking commanders of the Burning Legion.
  • Affably Evil: Very polite and soft spoken. You'll never seen him losing his temper, although sometimes he has to get serious when some of his subordinates talk him back.
  • Co-Dragons: Along with Mannoroth, to Archimonde.
  • Evil Genius
  • Deadpan Snarker
  • Finger Poke of Doom: Like Archimonde, he also knows the powerful spell Death Finger.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: He owned the Skull of Gul'dan, and used it to corrupt the forests of what would become Felwood. Illidan stole the Skull, absorbed its power and killed Tichondrius.
  • Killed Off for Real: By all appearances slain for good by the demonized Illidan, though chances are he'll return, looking at his fellow Dreadlords.
  • Tempting Fate:
    Tichondrius: "Believe me, brother. Neither the Lich King nor his undead lackeys will jeopardize the Legion's return!"
  • Winged Humanoid


Leader of the Pit Lords, and the one originally responsible for the corruption of the Orcs. He's quite committed to either bringing them back into the service of the Legion, or killing every last one of them.

He briefly appears again in the Warlords of Draenor cinematic.
  • Badass
    • Badass Boast: A lot, but in the Warlords of Draenor cinematic:
    "Hehehaha... You would reject this gift? And did you bring these mongrels here just to watch you... die?"
  • Blade on a Stick: Two blades on a single stick.
  • Blood Knight
  • The Brute
  • Co-Dragons: Along with Tichondrius, to Archimonde.
  • The Corrupter: Responsible of the orcs going evil in the first two games, as well as the corruption of Grom Hellescream and the Warsong clan in the third.
  • Defeat Equals Explosion: His fiery death mortally wounds Grom Hellscream in Reign of Chaos, and would have done the same to Past!Grom in Warlords of Draenor if not for a diving save by Garrosh.
  • Double Weapon: His weapon is a huge spear with blades on each end.
  • Evil Laugh
  • Flunky Boss: In the Well of Eternity instance, although he arguably starts out as a Dual Boss, since much of the early fight has you facing Varo'then.
  • Genius Bruiser: Though his Ax-Crazy Blood Knight nature makes it so this doesn't show up much in combat, he's eloquent and extremely intelligent.
  • Hidden Depths: Believe it or not, despite being portrayed just as a brute elsewhere, he shows himself to be very competent at sorcery in the War of the Ancients trilogy and very intelligent too (though still not nearly as skilled or smart as Archimonde or Kil'Jaeden).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Killed by the very first orc that drank his blood.
  • Kill It with Fire: Explodes in flames when killed, through which he takes down Grom Hellscream with him.
  • Killed Off for Real: Slain twice by Grom Hellscream in two different timelines.
  • Large Ham: His voice is ridiculous.
  • Magic Knight: While mostly noted for his physical strength, he also has powerful magic at his disposal.
  • Meaningful Echo: His death in the Warlords of Draenor cinematic perfectly echos his death in the main timeline.
  • Playing with Fire: His primary magical arsenal involves lots of fire.
  • Stout Strength: Pit Lords in general have rather hefty upper bodies, with huge strength to match.
  • The Unfought: In WC3, despite being the Arc Villain of Orc Campaign, you never actually fought him. He is killed by Grom in a FMV instead.
  • The Worf Effect: One of the most Legion's most powerful fighters, but he's also been used to show off how powerful somebody else is by having them beat him. He gets manhandled by Azshara in the Ancients trilogy, killed in a single hit by Grom in Warcraft 3, while his alternate timeline counterpart is killed again by Grom in a single hit in Warlords of Draenor (Though he did take an Iron Star to the face right before that).
  • Worthy Opponent: Despite being a nightmarish butcher, he seems willing to regard others as this in Warcraft III. He says to Tichondrius that he would relish a chance to face Cenarius in combat again and actually applauds Thrall's (unsuccessful) attempt to attack him: "A worthy effort, but futile!"



"This land is ours. The Scourge belongs to the Legion!"

A Dreadlord left behind by Archimonde in Lordaeron along with Detheroc and Varimathras. Thought to have been killed by Varimathras as a prove of loyalty, and later by adventurers who ventured into the Scarlet Bastion. For most part, he was manipulating the Scarlet Crusade to do his bidding by posing as Grand Crusader Dathrohan. He later completely shed his disguised and turned the remaining Scarlet Crusade members into the Risen.
  • Karmic Transformation: He did this to the Scarlet Crusade members in Stratholme and Tyr's Hand.
  • Manipulative Bastard: He's a good enough one that in his disguise as Grand Crusader Dathrohan he's able to give convincing reasons for all the villages he's destroyed in the name of ending the Scourge(namely that the villages couldn't possibly protect themselves and that the only reason they survived was someone else secretly protected them so that they could reach critical mass for Scourge plaguing which is a convincing excuse though in reality the unseen protecter AKA Balnazzar himself was merely gathering the people into those "havens" ).
    • Of course in reality the unseen protecter AKA Balnazzar himself was merely gathering the people into those "havens" so that he could deprive the Scourge of corpses to reanimate. The fact he came up with that plan and came up with a reasonable excuse to convince those with moral objections to such methods of destroying the Scourge shows that Balnazzar is infact most sanest of the Scarlet Crusade to the point that he's a villainous Reasonable Authority Figure.
  • The Necromancer
  • Not Quite Dead: Twice even.
  • One-Winged Angel: During his encounter when he shed his disguise.

"I've been waiting for you, young prince. I... am Mal'Ganis."

Another Dreadlord, and extremely manipulative to boot. He posed at the original leader of the Scourge in order to lure Arthas to Northrend, starting him down the path leading to him becoming the Lich King. However, Ner'zhul allowed Arthas to kill Mal'Ganis. It didn't stick, and Mal'Ganis returned, having copied Balnazzar and posed as a human to seize control of the Scarlet Onslaught. The players defeated him, and he retreated back to his home planet to regroup.
  • Arch-Enemy: Mal'ganis did everything he could to establish himself as Arthas' to lure him to Northrend.
  • Badass Boast: "I am Mal'Ganis! I AM ETERNAL!"
  • The Corrupter: Basically did this to Arthas, and later the Scarlet Onslaught.
  • The Dragon: Initially indicated he played this role to the Lich King, prior to the reveal of Tichondrius and Arthas's corruption.
  • Karmic Death: After all the things he got away with orchestrating in Lordaeron, his death at Arthas' hands, his death can be considered payment for Stratholme alone, never mind arranging for the plaguing of Arthas' homeland.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Stands out even among dreadlords, to the point where he's arguably second only to Kil'jaeden himself.
  • The Necromancer
  • Not Quite Dead: Yep, him too.

Warcraft Illidan And FollowersCharacters/War CraftWarcraft The Old Gods

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy